15 Ways to Make Sure Your Startup Fails

August 28, 2013

11:00 am

Before you start learning how to succeed, let’s work on the not failing part first. Here’s how to make sure your startup fails:

HR 

1. “Hire relatives. With genes like yours, what could go wrong?”

– Jens Hinrichsen, VP marketing of Versafe

2. “The more random and nonsensical the job title (i.e. Pet Happiness Ninja Hacker), the better. Unique titles show how creative and hip you are.”

 – Gabriel Mays, founder of Just Add Content

3. “Inspire employee competition in the form of bi-weekly beer pong tournaments.”

– Wes Gard, president of G4 Advisors

Legal 

4. “Don’t bother with corporate structure, or partnership agreements. Nobody would screw over their friends over something as trivial as money.”

– Tomas M. Flores Esq., attorney at Flores Legal

5. “Who needs liability insurance? Your customers are going to love you. Every. Single. One.”

– Janet A. Dickerson, cofounder and principal of Pixel Prose Media

6. “Don’t waste energy worrying about violating copyrights or trademarks. The other guy’s lawyers will let you know when you do and for free!”

– Chris Masterton of XseedMarketing.com

User testing 

7. “Do not launch or let users interact with your product until it is absolutely perfect or they’ll tell their friends it sucks and you will fail.”

– Gabriel Mays, founder of Just Add Content

8. “When doing user testing, be sure to explain to users why they’re wrong and why they don’t ‘get it.’”

– Gabriel Mays, founder of Just Add Content

9. “To market test your idea, ask only your immediate family if your product is awesome, and ignore your naysaying brother.”

– David Estrada, founder of Glimr

Budget

10. “Spend no less than 50% of your seed funding on a logo, a cool domain name (preferably ending in .ly or .io), business cards, t-shirts, and other swag. These items must be complete before a single line of code is written to set the mood.”

– Gabriel Mays, founder of Just Add Content

11. “Blow the year’s marketing/PR budget on a celebrity launch party with at least one housewife from New Jersey, one former Disney star turned hot mess, and of course a Kardashian.”

– Robert Albert, founder and CEO of Routehappy

Leadership 

12. “Spend as much time as you can at meetups, hackathons, and XXX-Conf because talking about startups is equivalent to building something and entreporn is just a word.”

– Gabriel Mays, founder of Just Add Content

13. “Whenever possible, tell people that you haven’t eaten or slept for days. Neglecting basic hygiene and always holding some sort of energy drink will drastically increase your startup’s valuation.”

– Eli Duffy, founder of Upsley

14. “Start a Svbtle blog to share your ‘original’ thoughts so you can be unique like everyone else.”

– Gabriel Mays, founder of Just Add Content

15. “Read Steve Jobs’s biography, and promptly start yelling at all your employees.”

– Alex Cequea, editor in chief of iPhone Life magazine

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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